Friday Favorites & Giveaway

Happy Friday!

Today’s Friday Favorites is going to be a bit different than normal but even better as I have a giveaway! Instead of sharing recipes, articles, posts and other things that caught my eye this week, I’m going to share a recent adventure as well as foods related to that which I’m loving!

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Last week I had the pleasure of joining five other bloggers and social media influencers (Gina, Vicki, Margaret, Michelle, and Paul) and the Fresh Direct team for a trip out to Long Island learning about one of my favorite foods – oysters! In case you’ve never heard of Fresh Direct, the company prides itself on bringing customers fresh, quality ingredients to their doorstep!

The Fresh Direct co-founder and “Chief Food Adventurer”, David McInerney, joined us for the day while we spent time with Blue Island Oyster Company, one of Fresh Direct’s primary oyster sources. Both companies know how to plan a great day. From time in the “classroom” learning about oysters to kayaking and grilling on the Long Island Sound, their passion for food and locally sourced products was at the root of everything.

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We started the day at Blue Island Oyster Company which is located in West Sayville, Long Island. Founded in 1995 by Chris Quartuccio, Blue Island Oyster Company is the number one shellfish distributor in the New York area. Quartuccio has worked in the industry since the age of 12, when he began digging for clams.  Over the years West Sayville has been a hub for the shellfish industry, once supporting 7,000 clam diggers. Today, only one shellfish company remains in West Sayville -Blue Island Oyster Company. They ship their shellfish all across the country and can be found on the menus of top restaurants in Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago and Boston.

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After a brief history of the company and region, he led our group into the “nursery” where we we learned all about oysters and how they are spawned.  IMG_0779

Oysters are typically 3 years old when they are harvested, however if farm raised that time can be reduced to 1.5 years. The farm raised oysters are incubated in barrels for 3 months before being transferred to the Great South Bay where they live until they reach maturity. Wild oysters have more mineral flavor than farm raised. Since oysters feast on algae, the company grows algae in large tanks.

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Their top selling oyster, The Naked Cowboy, was inspired by the Naked Cowboy in Times Square after Chris drove past him back in the 90s. Though the name was once laughed at by restaurants, today the Waldorf, Four Seasons, Oceana and other top restaurants request them by name. 

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Today Fresh Direct’s partnership with Blue Island Oyster Company allows for Fresh Direct customers to enjoy these oysters within days of their harvest. Blue Island harvests them one afternoon and the next morning they head to Fresh Direct! On their website you can find steamer clams and six different types of oysters!

After learning all about oysters we headed out to the Blue Island Oyster Company’s floating dock in the Long Island Sound for an afternoon of grilling, dining and kayaking.

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During our waterside picnic we were able to taste the delicious Blue Island steamers and oysters as well as an array of Fresh Direct’s food including lots of Summer favorites and items sourced from small farms and fisherman across the country. The team taught us some tips and tricks along the way such as how to shuck an oyster and perfectly grill rib eye and swordfish.

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Our group could not stop remarking how delicious everything tasted! From prepared food to seafood, I was amazed! While I have shopped with Fresh Direct and love the convenience and assortment they provide, I had never tried their prepared foods, meats, seafood or cheeses. 

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This is where this week’s Friday Favorites comes in as I have since ordered many of these items and raved about them to friends and family! The Fresh Direct team, led by David their “Chief Food Adventurer” travel the world sourcing products and building relationship with local companies. The entire team were experts on everything we tasted, answering our questions and explaining how and why they chose certain products!

IMG_2187These are the products I fell head over heels for last Friday and have since then ordered.

But, Fresh Direct and I don’t want you to take our word for it. We want you to experience Fresh Direct for yourself. You can click this link to enjoy $100 towards your first TWO orders! What better way to stock your fridge next week or help you get prepared for your next barbecue or party?

In addition, Fresh Direct and I want to give one lucky reader a $50 gift card.

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Thank you again to Fresh Direct who hosted such a wonderful day and provided the gift for this giveaway.

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Blog Refresh Giveaway

Why is it no longer the weekend?

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Bo and I woke up at 4:30 this morning, in order to make our 6:50am flight from Dublin to Geneva. Needless to say, I have been dragging ALL day.

As a way to make the long weekend transition just a little bit easier, I have a fun giveaway. Thanks to the help of Phil and the PipDig team, I have given this six-year old blog a much-needed refresh. The refreshed site will allow you to enjoy the site from any of your devices and include many of the requests you all have made over the past few weeks. Now, whether you’re searching for travel tips, workouts, race recaps or following along daily, you’ve have a better experience.

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In order to thank you for your support and celebrate the blog refresh, I am giving FOUR lucky winners ONE $50 gift card to ONE of the following retailers: New Balance, Lululemon, Nordstrom or Sephora so they can stock up on their favorite things! This isn’t a sponsored giveaway; just my way of thanking you guys for your support and celebrating the refresh!

Blog Refresh Giveaway

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Publix Savannah Women’s Half & 5k Giveaway

Happy Monday you guys!  I have a fun giveaway to my favorite grocery store today, so get excited!

As you may have seen on Instagram, Bo and I spent much of the weekend sleeping, cleaning, reading, working out and spending time with friends. We were focused on making sure that we nurtured our bodies as the next few weeks are going to get VERY busy. This relaxing weekend meant that this morning I popped out of bed! It is so nice to start Monday feeling refreshed and renewed.

Our refreshing weekend couldn’t have come at a better time as I started training for my goal half marathon today, the Publix Savannah Women’s Half & 5k. As you know, I’m flying back to Savannah in late March to enjoy a fun race weekend with the other ambassadors (Caitlin, Victoria, Claudia and Julie) as well as some of my friends and family. My aunt and mom are going to walk the half marathon (their FIRST) while Meghann and I are going to run the half together! It’s not too late to join us for the fun in Savannah! You can still sign up for the 5k or half marathon using my discount code, healthyhappierbear.

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While I planned on using Run Less, Run Faster again I had some concerns. Their training plan is a 16 -week plan, and I found it confusing to figure out how to start with only 11 weeks. Worried that I’d risk injury from increasing my mileage too quickly, I started to look at other options.  After hearing so many wonderful things about training with Jess from Theodora, Sarah, Christine and others, I decided to give it a go, especially since this is a condensed 11 week training period.

I’ll be sharing my training thoughts with you all on a weekly basis, but in celebration of a new training cycle, I have a fun giveaway to share today!

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I know how important nutrition is when training for a race. Therefore, Bo and I have spent the past ten days planning out a healthy plan of attack. During the month of January, we are focused on the 80/20 model. Eighty percent of the week we will be focusing on increasing our intake of fresh, natural foods and protein while reducing the processed foods, sugars and alcohol in our life. The rest of the time we’re able to enjoy all the delicious wine, cheese, bread, chocolate and European cuisine that is easily available to us. Since healthy eating isn’t always inexpensive, Publix wants to make it just a bit easier for one lucky reader.

Giveaway Time: Publix wants to help one lucky reader give their refrigerator or pantry a fresh update by giving away a $50 Publix gift card. (source)

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There are two ways to enter:

1) Leave a comment sharing your favorite healthy snack.

2) Share the giveaway on Twitter.

“Publix wants to help you stock your fridge with healthy snacks. Win a $50 giftcard on @healthyhappier blog! http://buff.ly/1ASclKM”

Giveaway will close Wednesday, January 14th at 11:59pm.

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Thank You Giveaway

Happy Friday friends!

There is so much to be happy about today.

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  • My 15 mile long run is already complete. Yup, I woke up at 5:30 this morning to get my run done bright and early. Six hours of sleep and a restless night didn’t make waking up easy but man do the views make up for it! I can’t lie, I have a little bit of swagger in my step during the day when I know I ran 15 miles while most of my colleagues were eating breakfast.
  • I get to unexpectedly travel to Athens, Greece this weekend. A last minute business meeting requires me to be in Athens early Sunday through Tuesday evening. As Bo nor I have been there before, we are heading there tomorrow morning so we can squeeze in some sight seeing before my meetings start!
  • You all amazing people helped me reach a social media goal this week. I haven’t shared my goals with many people but one of my top goals for this year was to increase my reach on a few social media sites. My first focus was Twitter as this is my favorite form of social media. Over the years it’s helped us gain tips and tricks while traveling, introduced me to one of my best friends and provided me with a wealth of knowledge. My big, hairy audacious goal was to reach 6,000 followers, naturally. I say naturally because we all know that these days you can pay for anything. I wanted to spend more time, when possible, engaging with followers and building a relationship. The focus paid off and yesterday morning I crossed the 6,000 follower mark.

In honor of this and to thank each and every one of you for your support these past few months, I wanted to host a giveaway today. This giveaway is one that I’m paying for out of my own wallet. It wasn’t planned until my 12 of this morning’s run.

This giveaway includes a few of my favorite things for the RUNNERS who follow along.

  • A bottle of your favorite POWER NAIL POLISH COLOR.  I fully believe that every goal race needs to include spirit nails. I already know that I want to wear OPI Deutsch You Want Me Baby on my nails for the Berlin Marathon.
  • One year’s subscription to either Runners World or Women’s Running magazine in your country. If you already have a subscription to both of these then take this opportunity to gift it to a friend!
  • An I RUN THIS BODY shirt or tank from Dorothy’s Dream Big, Run Long shop. This is the perfect shirt to wear for any occasion – cross training, running, recovery, expos, or just running errands. You even get to choose your favorite color!
  • A RUN ALL DAY shirt or tank from Pavement Runner’s shop! I am in love with the purple t-shirt and can’t wait to wear this come November.

One lucky reader will receive all of these items. Please note that the RUN ALL DAY shirts ship in November, so there will be a delay in when you receive this.

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